Dangerous UVA rays could still be seeping in to your skin in certain situations, despite how much sunscreen you're using
The days spent at the beach without continuously lathering up (or spraying) your bod in sunscreen are over—at least, they better be! The importance of wearing SPF to protect ourselves from harmful rays, and keep wrinkles and premature aging at bay, has been drilled into our brains ('cause it's true!).
But, as it so often happens with healthy habits, once you adopt one, you find out ways you can be doing it even better. You may see what we're getting at here: You need to wear sunscreen a whole lot more often than you probably do—every day, in fact.
Those rays have devious ways of getting to your skin when you'd never expect it, even covered up! (Yes, even indoors.) Read on to discover all the sneaky ways the sun may be getting to your skin.
You're indoors all day at the computer (probably wishing you were feeling the sun outside), so you're certainly not leaving the office with a tan. But, what you can't see can hurt you— especially if you're next to a window.
You see, the sun gives off two types of rays: UVA and UVB. Rebecca Baxt, M.D., a New York City dermatologist, explains that UVB rays are the ones responsible for giving the skin a tan or sunburn. They are strongest from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., less severe in the winter, and do not penetrate through glass. UVA rays are a whole different story. "They are responsible for changing the DNA in the skin, causing premature skin aging and skin cancer," explains Baxt. "UVA rays are approximately the same strength from summer to winter and can penetrate through windows. Simply put, these are the true damaging rays."
On a Cloudy Day
Don’t be fooled by cloud cover—you can get just as roasted on a foggy day as one with obvious sun. Probably, even more so, since you are less likely to put on SPF. “If you are working, playing, or swimming outside on a cloudy day, do not forget that sunscreen,” warns Baxt. “The clouds can give you a sense of security, but you can still be burned on a day with no visible sun.” Plus, those UVA rays we were just talking about can not only go through glass, but cloud coverage, too.
On a Plane
Unless they're treated with special solar filters, those damaging UVA rays can also sneak through airplane windows, says David Colbert, M.D.. They may be small, but at 20,000 feet you are a lot closer to the sun, thus getting a much higher dose. So, if you opt for the window seat for your next flight, apply a layer of sunscreen before you take off just to be safe. [Head to Refinery29 for the full story!]